I’ve been talking for the past six months with men who were cadets at Virginia Military Institute during World War II and the years surrounding it. Their lives were forever changed on this day, 73 years ago. One of them remembers he was returning to barracks when he heard the news. For him, as for many nationwide, the first question actually was, “Where’s Pearl Harbor”? They, and their country, would soon know all too well.
The day that would live in infamy would call these men, soon to be young officers, to the shores of North Africa, Normandy and the Rhine; to radar stations in England; to bombing missions over Germany and Japan; and even to the prison camps of war. Some knew only the disruption of seemingly endless training, and are chagrined not to have seen the field of battle. Others never returned from it.
On this day, I pause to honor them all. The Institute was indeed heard from, following that day.